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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deputy U.S. Marshal Convicted in Mob Leak Case

Deputy U.S. marshal convicted in mob leak case
WGN News 9- Chicago - April 28, 2009
Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose was convicted today by a federal jury of leaking sensitive information about a cooperating mob witness.

Ambrose was found guilty of charges of theft and disclosure for leaking that mob turncoat Nicholas Calabrese was cooperating with law enforcement. He was acquitted on two counts that he lied to federal authorities. Ambrose, who sat alert and stone-faced throughout the trial, slumped in his chair and swallowed hard several times as the verdict was announced. "This is a real tragedy for federal law enforcement," First Assistant U.S. Atty. Gary Shapiro said later. "Deputy Ambrose has had a distinguished career and then he threw it away by breaching the holy of holies, the confidentiality of the federal Witness Protection Program. That is an unforgivable sin, and it is for that sin that a jury returned a verdict of guilty." Ambrose's attorney, Francis Lipuma, called the verdict "bittersweet," saying "it's going to have a very devastating impact on John in his employment as well as his family." "In our view [the jury] took the least culpable of items that were allegedly shared and found John liable for those," said Lipuma, indicating that the jury only convicted his client for divulging that Calabrese was in Chicago and that he had served on Calabrese's security detail. Lipuma said that they would appeal the conviction following sentencing, citing one undercover video videotape that was withdrawn as evidence by U.S. District Judge John Grady in mid-trial after it had already been shown to jurors twice. "It's certainly very difficult to unring a bell," Lipuma said. "We do think it did have an impact." "We do believe some errors were made along the way," he said. "We believe they were substantial errors." Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9. Ambrose remains free on bond. Authorities discovered the leak when Outfit figures and brothers James and Michael Marcello were secretly recorded discussing key aspects of Calabrese's cooperation within weeks of his two secret visits to Chicago in 2002 and 2003. Ambrose helped protect Calabrese during both visits. Prosecutors have said the security breach by Ambrose was the first of its kind in the history of the secretive Witness Protection Program and called Ambrose's actions a "supreme betrayal of trust." Calabrese's cooperation was highly sensitive. He was the first made member of the Chicago mob to cooperate against Outfit cohorts. His testimony at the landmark Family Secrets mob trial in 2007 led to the murder convictions and life sentences for several top Outfit bosses, including Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo.

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